Mass incarceration is not only inhumane, it’s also against the law. Thousands of people are locked up without trial due to cracks in the penal system of Brazil, which is already the third largest prison population in the world.
It’s for these reasons that JWT was approached by Justice Network to create a campaign and publish a manifesto containing four requests for prisoners:
- A remand hearing granted within 24 hours
- Immediate release of people who’ve already served their time
- No new inmates allowed into overcrowded prisons
- Pregnant women or with children under 12 be allowed to wait for trial outside prison
The proposal was to allow people to put themselves in the inmates’ shoes so they could have a glimpse into what it’s like to be in a prison, unassisted by the very laws that are supposed to ensure a fair and human rights-compliant process. Since we are leaders in the market, JWT asked VZ Lab to design all of the immersive experience to sensitize the audiences.
VZ Lab developed a methodology to capture the universe of prisons in Brazil: They surveyed the cast. They interviewed former inmates about their times, trying to touch on the most amount of details as possible regarding their experiences.
VZ Lab studied different types of cells to create a replica. Their idea was to immerse people in this reality and, with the help of the former inmates, create a model that was true to the actual experience.
VZ Lab replicated it onto VR. They believe VR is one of the best ways to raise awareness and hence promote change in society. It turned out to be, therefore, the best tool to do the job.
THE EXPERIENCE IN PRACTICE
VZ Lab put up a structure the size of a conventional cell (3m2) in a very crowded area of Sao Paulo. Using virtual reality, they were able to immerse participants in the reality of an inmate for three minutes, showing the abandonment, overcrowding and vulnerability they are subject to. At the end of the experience, the main actor–an actual former inmate–showed up to talk to the participant in person.
Approximately 120 people took part in the experience, though it was recorded and advertised through the video available on this page. Sharing on the Justice Network and IDDD pages was 100% organic, and the video had over 15 million views.
STUDIO: VZ Lab